Thursday, December 19, 2019

Secret Santicorn 2019: D6 Body-Warping Magic Items and a Body-Warping Spell

My entry for Secret Santicorn 2019, run over on the OSR Discord. I got the following prompt, by Catalessi:

"some spells and or magic items, lets say a d6 table of them, based on the transformation of the user's own body. and a small table of bad consequences if you abuse of them."

I'll be honest, I didn't exactly follow it to the letter. I couldn't think of a good way to write one table for all the magic items, so instead I tried to make them all have a drawback, especially one that would punish people for using them without caution. I could only think of one spell, but since it's pretty much directly ripped from Darkest Dungeon I decided to just add it as a bonus to all the magic items.

The spell is listed first, followed by the magic items in no particular order. And, as promised, here's a D6 table of them:

1  Elongation Potion
2  Amulet of Amorphousness
3  Ring of Dissimulation
4  Etchings of Skin
5  Beads of Saint Bargle
6  Green Lotus Tea

Magic-User Level 1
Duration: Instant
Range: Touch

The caster touches a wounded creature and spurns their body into rapid – and risky – healing. This spell heals D20-6 Hit Points worth of damage. If the total is a negative number, the recipient actually suffers damage rather than healing.

Alternatively, a fresh injury can be rerolled, curing the existing injury as if it never happened but inflicting another one rolled by the same process that generated the first. A injury created by Reconstruction cannot be rerolled by using the spell again, nor can an existing injury (anything more than a few minutes old) be rerolled.

Because wizards healing between -5 and +20 HP is way cooler than a Cleric healing 1-8 every time.

Elongation Potion
A glass flask with a pink liquid inside and a paper note tied to it which reads, in all capital letters, "DRINK ME TO GROW LONGER". If drunk, the drinker will feel their arms and legs shifting in size, at once growing longer and shorter, and must choose between making their arms long and legs short, or legs long and arms short. Both effects are permanent.

If their arms are long, they will deal +1 damage with all weapons (as they can swing swords harder, draw bows farther, and even steady guns better), and can attack "over" creatures with melee attacks as if using a pike or halberd or the like. However, thanks to their short legs, they will be unable to run, only walk, and even then only slowly.

If their legs are long, they will be able to move twice as fast as normal while walking, without growing any more tired than normal, and sprint twice as fast likewise. They can also jump or even just step across large gaps. Their short arms will prevent them from using any two-handed weapon (including bows), and normally one-handed weapons will require two hands: only things like daggers will remain one-handed.

Amulet of Amorphousness
A brass amulet inlaid with an orange topaz. Whoever wears this amulet can transform themselves at will into an amorphous orange blob that can squeeze through almost any gap and is immune to most forms of damage – crushing deals no damage, while stabbing and slashing deals only half damage. They can continue to use items by forming appendages and can even form extra limbs (but not gain any extra attacks), but their items do not share their amorphousness to squeeze through things.

Each use of the Amulet of Amorphousness lasts up to a minute. After this point, or if the user wants to use it more than once between restful sleeps, it causes them to lose 1 Strength permanently, and an extra 1 Strength for every reactivation or full minute of use past the first. If a character is reduced to 0 Strength while wearing the Amulet it fuses with them, granting them its powers permanently but making them super weak. Furthermore, their alien body and mind causes them to cut their Charisma in half, rounded up.


Ring of Dissimulation
A small silver ring with two raised symbols on opposite sides – one of the laughing mask of comedy, the other of the crying mask of tragedy. The ring is magical, and powerfully so at that. Anyone can tell that it's magical by touching it for a few moments, and magicians and elves and similar types can tell it is imbued with a combination of powerful illusion magic and powerful transformation magic.

Anyone who puts it on for the first time will unconsciously activate the ring's effects to make themselves slightly more beautiful from their own perspective. Only the truly exceptional (monks, people with 18 Charisma, robots) will be satisfied enough to not activate this. It hints at the ring's altering effects, giving them +1 Charisma, permanently, at the cost of -1 Strength, also permanently.

While worn, someone wearing the Ring of Dissimulation can will themselves to appear like any humanoid creature they want. They can change their appearance, their height, their race, their species, and even their sex. They can conceal features they have (e.g. faking blindness) but cannot create ones they lack (e.g. removing actual blindness). This transformation takes a few seconds (a round or two), and gives the user a profound sense of loss – they feel that, if they perform this transformation, they will lose the stability of whatever they originally were.

This is because they will. The GM or player in question should write down every change a PC performs under the ring's effects. If the Ring of Dissimulation is ever removed, any part of the PC's body that was meaningfully changed at any point while wearing the ring will disappear, never to return. A list of common changes and their effects is listed below.

Hair: PC becomes completely bald.
Skin: PC becomes albino.
Eyes: PC loses their eyes and becomes blind.
Nose: PC loses their nose and sense of smell.
Ears: PC loses their ears and becomes deaf.
Mouth: PC loses their tongue and cannot speak (but can still eat/breathe).
Arm/Leg: PC loses the arm or leg (or just hand/foot if only that was changed).
Sex: PC becomes completely androgynous and sexless.
Species: PC becomes a weird middleground of all major demihuman races. In addition, they lose any racial abilities. Sorry, race-as-class characters.

Someone who changes their species or sex doesn't necessarily change their face or skin. This does, however, mean that you can still be recognized – though most people will assume you're just a lookalike of whoever they originally met you as.

The changes caused by removing the ring are physical, not magical (though magically induced). Cure Disease, Remove Curse, and similar spells won't work. Furthermore, the changes totally remove the organ in question, so Regeneration and the like also won't work. Only effects that create whole new versions of whatever was lost can replace such losses, such as the rare and forbidden art of biomancy, or the Wish spell.

The Ring of Dissimulation also can't create anything that wouldn't be there otherwise, which is why it can't be used to replace features lost to its removal. If you lose an arm you can't use the ring to recover it, even if you lost it outside of the ring's effect. The one exception is racial abilities: if you change your species, you lose your current abilities for the new ones. But if you lack a race, you cannot mimic any of them either!

Etchings of Skin
Tan-coloured leather canvases stretched by a frame of sticks. On each of them, in red paint – or is that blood? – are elaborate drawings, designs of a different animal each. The "paint" glows slightly, almost imperceptibly, but enough that close inspection or carrying them around for a while will reveal them to be magical.

The designs and canvases are actually spells and scrolls, of a sort, but rather than ones that are memorized or read, they are tattoos. A tattooist following the design will imbue the recipient with magical power, but slowly remove the paint from the canvas as they complete each part. They can be drawn anywhere on the body, but are always large enough to take up all of a body part – a full arm, the entire face, your entire back, etc. They show even through fur, feathers, or scales (which is relevant as you'll see in a moment).

Their power will alter the appearance and physiology of the recipient, and not entirely for the better. Once transcribed, the tattoo cannot be removed by anything short of a Remove Curse spell or similar effect, which will both destroy the tattoo and remove both its positive and negative effects. Transcribing it off the body is an art lost to modern magicians, as is the creation of new etchings of this sort.

Roll a D6 to determine which canvas the party has found:

1 Wolf: The character's hair grows grey and wild, and their teeth become sharp fangs. They deal +1 melee damage and can run as fast as an olympic sprinter, but struggle to willing leave combat and must roll equal/under their Wisdom to do so, doing nothing that round if they fail.
2 Bear: The character's body is covered in thick brown fur and they grow slightly larger overall. They gain +1 HP per level, applied retroactively, and are immune to cold and pain, but cannot benefit from wearing armour. Someone immune to pain can keep acting normally until death, and perform physical feats no one else could.
3 Raven: The character's eyes become small and beady, and their whole body is covered in tiny feathers. They deal +1 ranged damage and suffer damage from falling in increments of 100 feet instead of 10 feet, but lose 1 HP per level, applied retroactively, to a minimum of 1 per level.
4 Fish: The character grows subtle gills, thin gray scales over their body, and webbing between their fingers and toes. They can breathe underwater, swim rapidly, and see in the dark, but suffer double damage from all fire and frost based sources (frost because of their wetness, fire because the wetness is oil).
5 Snake: The character's eyes turn yellow, their tail shrinks and forks, and they grow thin green scales all over their body. They are immune to poison and disease, and can squeeze themselves through any gap they can fit their head through, but are unable to speak louder than a whisper and lose 1 Charisma to the lisp.
6 Spider: The character grows three extra sets of eyes and light, pitch black fur all over their body. They can climb anything, even sheer surfaces, and roll twice and take the better result (or otherwise excel at) all rolls related to lying to or otherwise manipulating others, but deal -1 damage with all attacks.

Beads of Saint Bargle
What appear at first glance as a set of shiny red prayer beads are actually a set of tiny rubies imbued with the holy powers of their long since dead owner, Saint Bargle. When used to pray over the body of someone injured or otherwise disabled, the Beads of Saint Bargle allow the user to transfer any number of permanent injuries from the person in question to themself, curing them of the disability at the cost of suffering it themselves.

This power can be used to cure injuries, both short-term and long-term, but not HP loss, curses, poisons, or diseases. It can be used to cure disabilities like blindness, even if the person has suffered the disability for their entire life, but can't be used to "heal" something a creature wouldn't normally have – such as to give a blind species sight, or to transfer a tail to a tailless creature.

A more obscure use that may require special research to discover is the Beads' limited ability to raise the dead. Praying over a corpse no more than a year dead gives the user the option of restoring the creature to life and full health at the cost of their own life. Doing so also drains the Beads of all magical ability and turns them from valuable rubies to useless grey rocks.

Green Lotus Tea
A bag of tea made from green lotus, one of the many forms of magical lotus. When a drink is steeped with the bag, it imbues it with its transformative properties. Anyone who drinks the whole thing will find their body changed, giving them the following properties:

First, their skin turns slightly green, nothing garish but enough that it is clearly green. This skin allows them to photosynthesize light – as long as they spend a few hours under a torch or lantern's light, they don't need to eat or drink (it's magic, after all). Lastly, they suffer double damage from fire, on account of their newfound flammability.

Every time the bag is used to make magical tea, roll a D6. On a 1, it loses the ability to make any more transformations after this last one.

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